This article covers things like taking care of roses, pruning roses, planting roses, feeding roses and bug or fungus problems with your roses.

Rose plants come in a variety of forms, from miniature rose plants to climbing roses.

Preparing the soil

Roses prefer an almost neutral pH (ranging from 5.5 – 7.0). A pH around 6.5 is ideal (slightly acidic side of neutral).

Before you plant, be sure that you choose varieties proven for Auckland conditions and usual climate.

Buying Rose Plants

If you order roses from a mail-order company order them early Spring ideally when they are dormant, well before they have leafed out. While they look more like a bundle of roots and sticks it’s the ideal time for planting.

If you’re buying from Palmers or Kings Plant Barn or other retailers try and purchase them early in their supply season.

Planting Tips

Use thick gloves to protect your hands.

Plant roses where they will be exposed to at least 5 to 6 hours of full sun per day. If you grow roses in weak sun locations you are not going to have prize winning flowers. In fact it opens them up to deceases bugs etc.

Roses can be transplanted in Spring or Autumn but best not in mid-summer as they will suffer greatly and could die on you.

When you transplant roses ensure you dig a hole that’s much bigger than you actually need to accommodate the plant. Add plenty of organic matter such as compost or aged manure.

Watering Your Roses

You need to diligently water your roses. Soak the entire root area at least two times a week in summer. If you are growing them in pots, they need watering every day in summer.

Roses do their best in high annual rainfall areas that are sunny. Don’t drown them but don’t underestimate their water needs in the heat of summer.

Use mulch on the surface to help retain water. This reduces the stress on the plants.

Feeding Roses

There are too numerous rose fertilisers on the market to mention and so many secret recipes.

Here are our recommendations for feeding, use this as a guide only as all gardens are different and require different nutrients.

Feed your roses about 3 times from early Spring to late summer (September to March).

Spread it around the drip line (not up against the stem) as the drip line is where the feeding roots are.

Don’t feed later than March as in New Zealand the plants are heading into their winter dormancy.

Pruning Roses

Religiously remove the dead rose flowers (deadheads) and keep the garden beds clean to discourage fungus growth, bugs and insects.

In New Zealand, most roses are pruned between late June and mid-August, depending where you live. Don’t be tempted to start early as the roses will actually start growing again and then the new growth will get hit by the frosts, plus they won’t flower earlier if pruned earlier.

As we live in Auckland June is normally too early for our warmer climate.

You will need pruning shears for the smaller growth. Use loppers for the lower thicker branches. Some bigger plants require a pruning saw.

Keeping Your Roses Healthy – Bugs, Funguses etc.

You may find yourself having to spray for Aphids, Thrips and a number of other nasty bugs.

Black Spot, Powdery Mildew and Rust are also very common problems.

If your rose plant leaves have black spots that eventually turn yellow, this is often caused by water splashing on leaves, especially in rainy weather. Leaves may require a protective fungicide coating, which would start in the summer before leaf spots started until first frost. Thoroughly clean up debris in the Autumn, and prune out all diseased canes.

If leaves, buds, and stems are covered with a white powdery coating, this is a mildew disease; mildew develops rapidly during warm, humid weather. During new growth, prevent mildew by spraying or dusting canes and leaf surfaces with fungicide. Prevent mildew by pruning out all dead or diseased canes in the spring. Destroy all diseased parts during the growing season.

Botrytis Blight: If the rose’s flower buds droop, stay closed, or turn brown, it has this grey fungus. Prune off all infected blossoms and remove any dead material. Fungicide application may be necessary.

Yates Super Shield (it’s not as good as Yates Shield but you can’t buy Shield any more). This product is great for preventing Black Spot.

Yates Lime Sulfur is a great fungicide to eradicate Powdery Mildew and a general pesticide for Aphids, Thrips and other bugs and insects.

In general, avoid rose issues by buying disease-resistant varieties and cleaning up debris, weeds, fallen leaves and any diseased plant material as soon as possible. Water them, feed them and control any fungus and pests.

Feel free to contact The Garden Team for further help if you live in Remuera, St Heliers, Mission Bay, Orakei, Epsom, Mt Eden, Meadowbank, Glendowie and Parnell.